The stability of a steady, vortical flow in a cylindrical container with one rotating endwall has been experimentally examined to gain insight into the process of vortex breakdowwn. The dynamics of the flow are governed by the Reynolds number (Re) and the aspect ratio of the cylinder. Re is given by Omega R(sup 2)/nu, where Omega is the speed of rotation of the endwall, R is the cylinder radius, and nu is the kinematic viscosity of the fluid filling the cylinder. The aspect ratio is H/R, where H is the height of the cylinder. Numerical simulation studies disagree whether or not the steady breakdown is stable beyond a critical Reynolds number, Re(sub c). Previous experimental researches have considered the steady and unsteady flows near Re(sub c), but have not explored the stability of the steady breakdown structures beyond this value. In this investigation, laser induced fluorescence was utilized to observe both steady and unsteady vortex breakdown at a fixed H/R of 2.5 with Re varying around Re(sub c). When the Re of a steady flow was slowly increased beyond Re(sub c), the breakdown structure remained steady even though unsteadiness was possible. In addition, a number of hysteresis events involving the oscillation periods of the unsteady flow were noted. The results show that both steady and unsteady vortex breakdown occur for a limited range of Re above Re(sub c). Also, with increasing Re, complex flow transformations take place that alter the period at which the unsteady flow oscillates.